Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lithops experiment part 1 (7 pics)

Today I went to a hardware store in Luxembourg and did something I would not normally do - I bought three Lithops plants that are in such a bad shape I very much doubt they'll survive. The reason behind this is an idea I got from my previous post and the question if it is possible to not only save but also correct a plant that has been treated very badly for a long time. I will try this and document it here in the blog. I'm pretty sure the next entry will be "they all died" but this will at least tell you to avoid this kind of purchases ;)

So this is how they look like. All three are L. pseudotruncatella. They are bloated and cucumber-shaped.


This one has grown so long that the only solution I can see for it is that, if it survives until fall, the new leaves will break through at the root and the old ones can be cut off. No water until then.


The other two look slightly better and I'd say there is at least a chance of survival. They will not receive any water ever again until the new leaves come out. My plan is to make them shrivel to the half their present size. All three have good root system which means they are ready to fight but actually it doesn't matter much since they won't use them anyway. One of the plants was wrapped in old dried leaves and will be sensitive to the sunlight, I imagine. I will have to let them all get accustomed to it gradually. 



Now they are washed and will dry until tomorrow when I'll put them into dry pumice and the experiment can begin. The goal is to keep them alive and if successful to get them as close as possible to their normal shape (white Lithops in the square pot to the left). Also, when planting cucumber-shaped Lithops the worst thing to do is to bury them. It won't make things better. You only bury them as far as you wish them to be - if the plant should later be 1 cm high it should be planted 1 cm deep into the ground. With the cucumbers it will look ridiculous but better ridiculous now than dead later.

Wish me luck!

19 comments:

  1. Questions.

    1. If you can discern, what type of potting mix they were in when sold?

    2. If you aren't going to water them again, and if the roots will not be needed to absorb water, do they have to be potted at all? (Other than for convenience)

    3. Since you are going to pot them, but not water them, do you think the roots will remain alive, or will they dry up? I am trying to understand, in lithops, what environmental conditions (if any) stimulate root growth and what conditions (if any) cause a cessation of root growth.

    BTW I applaud your setting up such an experiment. This is how we learn new, or confirm old, information.

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    1. Hi Bob :)

      Thank you very much for your interest and questions!

      1. The potting mix they were in at the store was mostly organic: leaves, fibers, woody stuff with a little sand. Very breathable though! It was dry when I pulled out the plants. In the store they were deep on a bottom shelf without any sunlight and even in the shade from electric lights high above.

      2 & 3. The roots as you see them on the photos are what I generally would describe as "inactive" and I imagine if I don't water that is how they'll stay. I saw active lithops roots when I happened to repot them from wet substrate (sometimes you knock over a pot) and the sight is completely different - lots of white fuzzy roots all around. In my understanding the brown hard ones are the inactive roots. The white ones grow very quickly after watering. And dry off just as quickly when not watered. In pumice I never had to worry about the roots. I'm going to pot them for convenience only: to keep them upright, as I want them to get a lot of sunlight and wrinkle well. I'm pretty sure they don't need to be potted ^^a

      Well, let's wait and see. I will update you as soon as there are any visible changes.


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  2. good luck with your experiment! I hope the little guys will make it :)

    D.

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    1. Thank you Dana :)
      So far there is no change. It has gotten colder and darker so maybe they'll start shriveling once Summer is back...

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  3. It will be interesting to see what happens. On a less dramatic scale I recorded a rejuvenation [ please see Succulent Sundae 14/11/14 ]. I knew someone who took all the leftover plants after plant sales [ and some were awful ] but I never went to his greenhouse so I am not sure how well they recovered.

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    1. I saw your post. Lithops really need at least a couple of seasons to get in shape after being elongated. I imagine they would have been treated very differently from all other plants for a long time to recover but if some of them did it must have been a real success story.

      So far nothing happens with mine. I think the two smaller ones do have a chance. The long one will be a real.... challenge.

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  4. Interesting, I will follow them cucumbers' adventure, good luck Rika !

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    1. Hi Jimmy :)
      Ten days past - no change. I was going to provide them with shade but I didn't bother after all. They stand in full sun and don't seem to mind at all.

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    2. One day tricky, one day easy, I still don't understand those little cuties completly. But you're a better grower than me ! I'm sure they will be beautiful and nice shaped next year ;)

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  5. What size is the square pot in the picture? thanks.

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    1. The square pot in the picture is 5x5cm and 8,5cm deep.

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  6. Rika, your blog is very very interesting. I regularly check it and I learn (and enjoy) a lot. Thank you and congratulations.
    Claudio

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    1. Hi Claudio, thank you very much for visiting and reading! I appreciate it a lot :)

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  7. Fascinating!! I was referred here by a Reddit user. What an informative blog :) I'm looking forward to reading more!

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    1. Thanks to you for stopping by! :) I'm very happy you like my blog.
      I'll be writing more when the winter is over ;)

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  8. Hi rika, do you have an update on these lithops?
    Thanks :)

    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie! :) Two of them are still alive and still ugly, basically looking like the last update I posted. Maybe next year they will look normal? I don’t know...

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  9. Thanks for relying back Rika. About ugly. Lol.... So did the long one ever get shorter?

    Thanks
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie!
      A little shorter now but still so very ugly though.....

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